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Dealing with pets in your will and estate

By Estates, Pets, Power of Attorney, Wills

You love your pet, and you want to make sure that he or she is taken care of after you’re gone. You may not know how to do this, but don’t worry: It’s easier than you think! In this article, I’ll cover the basics of estate planning for pets and how it can help the dog, cat, iguana or whoever you have in your life continue to be a good boy even after you can’t help them anymore. Because who’s a good boy? Your pet’s a good boy.

Pets are part of the family, so they should be protected and provided for in your estate plan along with other loved ones and assets

Pets are part of the family, and they should be protected and provided for in your estate plan along with other loved ones and assets. Pets are not just property, they are family members. They have feelings and emotions that can suffer when they lose their owner or guardian. In some cases, these animals have been with an individual longer than any human friend! They deserve to be included in your will as well as being cared for by someone who will love them just as much as you did when alive (or even more).

Plan early.

It’s never too early to start thinking about what will happen to your pets after you pass away.

However, if you wait too long, it may be too late. You need to make sure that your wishes are known by those who will be responsible for carrying them out.

Consider hiring a lawyer to help you create an estate plan.

If you have pets, it is important to have a plan in place for them. A lawyer can help you create a will and make sure that the right people are named as executor(s), trustee(s), successor trustee(s), power of attorney and/or guardian(s). They also know how best to deal with pets in these documents.

A good estate planning lawyer will ask questions about your pet’s needs so they know what type of caretaker would be best suited for them; many lawyers have connections with local shelters that specialize in helping animals find new homes when their owners pass away or become unable to care for them anymore

Although courts see pets as property, choose a guardian for your pet.

Although the courts see pets as property, you should choose a guardian for your pet. A guardian can be a family member, friend or neighbor. Alternatively, it could be a professional caregiver who specializes in taking care of animals.

If possible, appoint two people as co-guardians so there’s someone who can step in if something happens to one person before the other dies or becomes incapacitated themselves (elderly parents often worry about this).

Provide for your pet in your will and other legal documents.

If you have a pet, it’s important to think about how they’ll be cared for after your death. If a family member or friend isn’t willing or able to take on the responsibility of caring for your pet, consider other options such as finding them a new home with someone who is able to do so. Another option is providing money in your will that allows them to be taken care of by an animal shelter or rescue group until they are adopted into their new home.

Pets can be the subject of gifts for their care, or even trusts that allow funds to be paid out every year that they survive you in order to ensure continual care. The options for choosing how to provide for your pets are nearly limitless.

Arrange for care while you’re alive, if possible.

If you have a pet and are experiencing a move into a personal care facility, it may be valuable to consider if an earlier move for your pet is a better option. This may help ease your pet’s transition into its new home, and still allow you to visit, or be visited by your pet, from time to time.

You should also make sure that any medical issues are taken care of before arranging for someone else to take over as caregiver: ensure that the animal has had all its vaccinations (and check back periodically), and bring it in for regular checkups from time-to-time so that any potential problems can be caught early on and treated accordingly by a veterinarian.


Pets are a big part of our lives, and they deserve to be taken care of. They’re also part of your estate and will, so it’s important to plan properly for them. If you don’t want to leave money or property directly to your pet, consider naming someone else as guardian who can take care of them in the event of your death or incapacity. This person should be someone who loves and cares about your good pup or kitten or other friend as much as you do and who is willing to give them all the love that they deserve.

Planning considerations as you get older

By Committeeship, Estates, Power of Attorney, Wills

Estate Planning

If you have a family, it’s important to make sure that they are taken care of after your death. A will is one way to do this. A will allows you to specify who will inherit your property and other assets, including who should care for any minor children if both parents die.
You may also want to consider setting up a trust as part of your estate planning process. Trusts can be used in many different ways–for example, they can be set up so that an heir receives money from the trust only when he or she reaches a certain age (a “spendthrift” clause), which could help protect against financial abuse by others; or they might allow for some flexibility over how much money goes into each beneficiary’s hands at different stages in life (such as college tuition).
If someone else needs power over your finances but doesn’t want total control over them (for example, if you’re too ill or incapacitated), then naming him or her as power-of-attorney may be necessary; this person would then be able to make decisions about paying bills on behalf of another person until such time as he/she recovers enough mental capacity again. You can read more about that here:

Health Care Planning

Health care planning is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your wishes are respected and carried out. By creating a health care directive and assigning a health care proxy, you can ensure that decisions about your medical care are made according to your wishes. If you have chosen not to create an advance directive or assign a proxy, then provincial law will determine what happens if you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions yourself.
When it comes time for long-term care (LTC), there are several options available: home-based LTC services such as adult daycare centers; assisted living facilities; nursing homes; or continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks depending on how much assistance is needed from staff members at these facilities–and each comes with its own cost structure as well!

Financial Planning

As you age, it’s important to have a financial plan in place. This can include creating a budget and planning for retirement, as well as exploring financial assistance options that may be available.

Housing Arrangements

  • Senior Living
    If you’re an older adult, or if you know someone who is, it’s important to explore options for senior living. This can include independent living facilities or assisted living facilities. You may also want to consider moving in with family members or friends who live nearby.
  • Home Modifications
    As people age, they often need help with daily tasks such as bathing and dressing themselves. When this becomes too much for them alone–or when it becomes impossible for them alone–it’s time to make some changes in their home environment so that they can continue living safely on their own terms without needing constant assistance from others around them all day long every day throughout each week. Some examples include installing grab bars near toilets; widening doorways so they’re easier for wheelchair users; adding ramps outside entrances where snow piles up during winter months

Insurance Planning

  • Long-term care insurance
    Long-term care insurance can be a good option for people who are concerned about the cost of nursing home care. It’s important to evaluate your options carefully, though, and make sure that you understand what kinds of benefits each plan provides before buying one.
  • Health insurance options
    If you have employer-sponsored health insurance, it’s important to evaluate whether or not this coverage will continue after retirement. Long term drug coverage will typically end after retirement and so it may be important to consider what that coverage may look like, and what government Pharmacare limits and deductibles might be for you.

Tax Planning

Tax Planning
A tax professional can help you plan for retirement and ensure that you are taking advantage of all the deductions and credits available to you. Tax planning is also important for ensuring that your estate is properly structured to minimize taxes on death, which may include setting up trusts or other legal arrangements ahead of time.

End-of-Life Planning

When you’re faced with end-of-life planning, you may be thinking about what arrangements to make for your funeral and burial. You may also want to consider how much time you have left and what kind of care you would like in the event that your health deteriorates.
You can help ensure that these decisions are carried out in accordance with your wishes by creating an end-of-life plan. This includes deciding on funeral arrangements, such as whether or not there will be a public viewing or open casket service; who should attend; where it will take place; what music is played during services; whether or not there should be flowers sent by family members; etc.; creating a living will (also known as an advance directive) which outlines how medical treatment should proceed if one becomes incapacitated due to illness or injury. Even MAID is becoming more complex, with new rules set to take effect soon. Talking through those options can be important as well.

Caregiver Arrangements

If you’re caring for an elderly loved one, you may need to hire a caregiver. You can also look into finding support services in your area and making arrangements for respite care.
If you are caring for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to know what legal arrangements should be made before they lose their ability to make decisions on their own behalf.

Technology Planning

  • Assistive technologies: Assistive technology is any device or service that helps people with disabilities to do things they cannot do on their own. Examples include screen readers for people who are blind, text-to-speech software that converts written words into audio speech, and devices that allow people with mobility issues to use computers more easily.
  • Online resources: The Internet has become an indispensable tool for many older adults and their caregivers. It can help them find information about legal matters, health care services and other community resources; connect with others who share similar interests; stay in touch with family members who live far away; participate in online discussions about topics important to them (such as aging); learn new skills like using social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter; order groceries from home delivery services like Instacart or Peapod; manage finances using online banking tools such as Mint (which also tracks spending habits); find transportation options such as Uber/Lyft ridesharing services–and much more!


There are a number of considerations when we think about getting older and many of them go hand-in-hand. For example you tax planning and estate planning will often overlap. If you have questions about these, or if you know that there is some planning that you’d like to do, please reach out and schedule a chat with us.

Find the Answers You Need From a Real Estate Lawyer

By Real Estate

When it comes to buying or selling your house, you need a trusted team to answer all of your questions

Real Estate Law: Get Advice Tailored to You

Buying and selling property can be complicated, and you want to make sure you have the right legal help. Our real estate lawyers provide you with the answers you need to make the right decisions. With experience in all areas of real estate law, our lawyers are here to help you navigate the complexities of property law.

Affordable Fees, Transparent Pricing

At our firm, you never need to worry about hidden fees or surprise charges. We provide transparent pricing and affordable fees so you can make decisions with confidence. Most of our prices are available on our website, and if our fees are going to fall outside of that, we’ll let you know as soon as we can. Our lawyers will take the time to explain the process and answer all of your questions in plain language, so you can make informed decisions.

Get the Answers You Need Now

Don’t wait until after you’ve bought or sold your property to get the help you need. Our real estate lawyers are here to assist you with your property law questions and provide you with the advice you need to make the best decisions when dealing with your largest asset.

Give us a call to get the answers you need from your real estate team

Small house on a table with plans and a piggy bak

Don’t be afraid of a Power of Attorney

By Estates, Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney Gives You the Control You Need

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants another person control of your finances, property, and medical decisions in the event that you are incapacitated. It allows you to appoint someone you trust to make important decisions for you and act in your best interest.

What Rights Will I Lose?

When you sign a power of attorney, you will not lose any of your rights or responsibilities. You are still in charge of your affairs and will retain all decision-making power. Your appointed person will only act when you are unable to do so or when you want them to.

Who Should I Appoint?

The person you appoint should be someone you trust to make decisions in your best interests. It is important to make sure they are aware of and understand your wishes, and that they are reliable and trustworthy.

We’re always happy to answer questions about estate plans and powers of attorney. Give us a call and we’ll chat.

person writing

Getting legal advice on your retirement package

By Employment Law

Retirement can approach people in different ways. Whether it is through an employee’s natural conclusion to their working days, or through a form of pseudo termination by an employer looking to pare down staff, retirement is something that everyone in Manitoba needs to consider no matter what stage of their career they are in. Many people here in Manitoba are starting to contemplate retirement and wondering if their retirement package is fair. It is important for anyone who is facing the prospect of retirement forced or otherwise, to be aware of what they are entitled to. Let’s talk about getting legal advice on your retirement package.

Ever wondered if your retirement package was fair?

When presented with any retirement package, you should review it thoroughly to make sure it includes everything that you are looking for. You may be able to negotiate a better deal. There are a number of factors which will impact what you are entitled to in any retirement factor but age will have the most significant impact on your retirement package. The more experience you have, the more valuable it will be for an employer to keep you on board as long as possible. However, if you’re nearing or already within retirement age, it could work against you if your employer wants to get rid of their obligations as soon as possible by offering a smaller pension payout and other benefits.

If this sounds like something that might happen in your future, then maybe it’s time for some financial planning now so that you can ensure your future is secure regardless of what happens at work later down the road! You could consult with an advisor who can help calculate how much tax-free income from government sources will be available during retirement (i.e., Old Age Security). You can also ask a lawyer to review any contracts regarding wages paid out during periods where no employment was provided and retirement entitlements.


Redundancy is when an employer claims that your position has become redundant and seeks to fundamentally change your position or terminate your employment. Traditionally these situations occur when an employer claims that there is no work which requires the employee. Your employer must follow the correct procedure to dismiss you for redundancy:

  • They must tell you that they intend to make you redundant
  • They must give you information about the redundancy process, including how many people have been selected for redundancy and what the selection criteria was. This must be done in writing and it should be sent within two weeks of making the decision to dismiss people for redundancy.
  • They must offer suitable alternative employment if there are other jobs available at the company or in similar companies and at a similar level as yours. If no suitable alternative employment is available then they will pay out statutory redundancy payments

These conditions can vary widely between different employers and employees.

Retirement Age

Some people might find themselves with no choice but to retire early simply because their employer has laid them off or their company is going through some sort of restructuring process. But others may choose an early exit from work because they want more freedom in life—or maybe they’ve found another job elsewhere and want the opportunity to build a pension/retirement plan at another job while preserving their retirement from their current employer.

Termination Agreements

Some employers may offer termination agreements to employees. A termination agreement is an agreement between an employer and employee to end their employment relationship. The purpose of a termination agreement is to negotiate a package of benefits, such as extra notice or payment in lieu of notice, severance pay, pension benefits and other entitlements under the employment contract.

These agreements are often complex and involve a combination of statutory and common law rules which can influence what an employee is entitled to.

Should you take legal advice?

If you have any questions about your contract, or if you’re not sure whether it is fair and reasonable, ask a lawyer.

You should ask a lawyer to look over your contract. This may be enough to answer some of your questions. Most termination offers will be time sensitive but should include time for the employee to consult with a lawyer. Some termination offers will even include compensation for the costs of consulting with a lawyer.

You can ask a lawyer to review the terms of your package and help you negotiate with your employer if there are things that don’t make sense or are unfair to you (for example, if there is no mention at all of termination pay).

In many cases it makes sense for employees to get their own lawyers as their employer will probably have its own legal counsel available.

If you want to make sure that your retirement package is fair and you’re not being exploited by your employer.

If you’re working and you are contemplating retirement, it’s important to know your rights. You should be able to negotiate a fair package that protects your retirement plan from exploitation by your employer.

Here are some tips on how to do this:

  • It’s important that you understand what a “fair” package is. The best way for employees to determine if their package is fair is through negotiation with their employer and speaking with an expert like a lawyere. A good place to start when negotiating salary packages is by looking at other companies in similar industries and comparing them side-by-side with yours. If there are any discrepancies between what other companies pay their employees, then it may be time for some negotiations!
  • Remember that not everything needs to be negotiated at once—you can always revisit discussions later down the line if needed (or simply revisit them every year).


If you are contemplating your retirement package then it’s important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. You don’t want to be exploited or treated unfairly at this stage in life, so make sure that you are proactive and vigilant in considering your retirement.


Andrew MacDonald is an employment and civil litigation lawyer with Wolseley Law LLP

Getting started with probate

By Estates


Probate is the legal process that takes place when someone dies and their estate needs to be dealt with. For example, if a person has left assets which need to be distributed or property that needs to be sold.

What is probate?

Probate is a process that gives you a court order that allows you to prove that you are the rightful administrator of an estate and gives you permission to distribute its assets. It is not always essential when someone dies, but even if it’s not required, it does allow you to deal with their property and money in a more efficient way than if you didn’t have probate.

Probate only applies if someone has died and left behind assets or property which need to be distributed after they are gone. If there are no assets, then there’s nothing left worth worrying about and probate won’t be necessary at all. Depending on what assets the deceased person owned, including bank accounts and land/property, probate may be required in order for you to sell or distribute it.

Can I get probate without a will?

If you have a will, it’s usually easier for your loved ones to get probate. If you don’t have a will, then the process is called administration. The person who takes care of your estate is called an “administrator” (without a will) an “executor” (with a will) or a “personal representative” (for either an administrator or an executor). The personal representative has to file papers with the court and prove that they are the person allowed to act on behalf of the estate.

Gathering the information you need to complete the probate application form, including making a list of assets and liabilities.

  • Gather the information you need to complete the probate application form.
  • Make a list of assets and liabilities: if you don’t know what they are, ask your lawyer.
  • Don’t forget to include any benefits that may be payable through the deceased’s pension and life insurance.
  • The intake form is a “best effort” – if there’s information that you don’t know right away, that’s okay. Write down on the form that the asset/debt/information exists but that you don’t know what it is right now. It can always be obtained later.


We hope that this post has helped you understand what probate is and the process of applying for it. Your next step should be to gather all the information you need to complete the application form, including making a list of assets and liabilities. If you’re still unsure about how to get started, please check in with your lawyer.

International Divorce Law under the Hague Convention

By Family law

Service is one of the important first steps in any legal matter and this is especially true in international divorce. When you commence a court proceeding, you are required to serve the opposing party to ensure that they receive the information about the case and have the opportunity to respond. Because of this, if you commence family court proceedings, your ex-spouse needs to be served. This applies even if you are only seeking a divorce and/or do not anticipate your ex-spouse to contest the proceedings.

So, how do you manage an international divorce if your ex-spouse lives in another country?

If the opposing party lives abroad, the manner of service will depend on a couple of factors.

For instance:
– What country does your ex-spouse live in?
– Do you know the address of your ex-spouse?

Depending on the country your ex-spouse lives in, they may have to be served through a special process outlined in the Hague Service Convention (the Convention). Countries that are party to the Convention must follow specific rules for service.

At present, there are 79 contracting countries to the Hague Convention in various countries all over the world, including:

  • Philippines
  • India
  • China
  • United States
  • Most of Europe
  • Others can be found here

Each contracting country designates a central authority to receive documents for service from other contracting countries. One of the requirements of the Convention is that a competent authority or judicial officer of that country forward the documents using special prescribed application forms. A lawyer is considered a competent authority for this process. As such, a non-lawyer cannot typically send these forms themselves.

What does the application include?

The application forms include a letter of request, a list and description of the documents to be served and a certificate of service for the foreign court to complete and return. Each country also has specific other requirements as well. For example, there may be a fee associated with the service or translation requirements. The Convention does not apply when the address of the person to be served is not known. However, there are other steps that a lawyer can assist you with, such as applying to the court for an order of subservice or the dispensing of the service requirement.

Once your court documents have been filed and served you can then proceed to finalize your family matter.

If you are looking to start a family proceeding against someone in another country; whether you have already filed your paperwork, and just need assistance with service, or are looking for a lawyer to help you complete the whole process, one of our family lawyers are here to help. Please contact us at 204-977-1706 to schedule a consult and learn more about the process and our fees or click here for more information.


Heidi Dyck is an associate at Wolseley Law LLP